The Pittsburgh Steelers are off to a rough start to the season. After struggling badly in a blowout loss to the New England Patriots in Week 1, they saw Ben Roethlisberger leave Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks with an injury to his right elbow, and it's an issue that may force him to miss some time.
Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported that Roethlisberger will receive an MRI for his elbow.
Roethlisberger did not return to the game after initially being ruled as questionable heading into halftime. On Monday morning, Adam Schefter reported that we will know if the Steelers quarterback will need elbow surgery by the end of today. Roethlisberger wants to avoid it at all costs, but ultimately it's a decision that the doctors will have to make.
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Roethlisberger was relieved by second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph, who went 12 of 19 for 112 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in Pittsburgh's 28-26 defeat.
During his postgame presser, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that Roethlisberger's elbow will continue to be evaluated. Tomlin was also asked to discuss Rudolph's NFL debut.
"I like some of the things he displayed," Tomlin said of Rudolph, via the team's official website. "His communication, his grit. But we gotta find a way to win a football game. We weren't able to do that today."
Tomlin added that the Steelers did not have to make any adjustments to their offensive game plan after Rudolph entered the game. Rudolph, who also spoke to reporters following Sunday's game, said that the extra reps he receives on Wednesday — Big Ben's standard rest day — helped prepare him for this opportunity.
"You gotta be prepared for those situations whenever your number is called," he said. "I thought I was ready. I had a really good feel for the age plan … I had a lot of reps this week, and I didn't feel like I was unprepared, by any means."
Roethlisberger was just 8 of 15 for 75 yards in the first half. He appeared to injure his elbow on an attempted deep ball down the right sideline, and immediately grabbed it after the throw. He remained in the game for the rest of the first half, but did briefly visit the locker room.
Pittsburgh traded quarterback Josh Dobbs to the Jaguars for a sixth-round pick last week, and could be in the market for a new backup if Roethlisberger has to miss time and Rudolph has to start. The Steelers may also promote Devlin Hodges, an undrafted rookie who was added to the practice squad last week after he failed to make Pittsburgh's initial 53-man roster.
Expect Tomlin to offer an update on Big Ben's status for Pittsburgh's upcoming game during his weekly Tuesday press conference. Pittsburgh will head to San Francisco next Sunday. The 49ers are 2-0 after their 41-17 win over the Bengals in Cincinnati on Sunday.